Cards with Princess Diana’s signature on are discovered after 26 years05/30/2019
Rare family Christmas cards featuring Charles and Diana’s signatures along with sweet childhood pictures of William and Harry could reach £2,000 at auction – after spending 26 years in a forgotten box
- Six Christmas cards sent to George and Muriel Constable have been discovered
- Couple ran post office in Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate of Prince Charles
- Diana’s signature isn’t on all of the cards but greetings continued after her death
- Earliest card dates back to 1985 and shows Prince William and Harry as toddlers
A collection of rare Christmas cards sent by Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales have been discovered – after spending 26 years in a box.
The long forgotten cards feature heart-warming childhood pictures of Prince William and Prince Harry and are expected to fetch thousands at auction.
Overall there are six cards, the earliest of which dates back to 1985, and they were discovered in Burton, Staffordshire.
They were originally sent to former palace employees George and Muriel Constable, who lived near Bath in Somerset, by Charles and Diana and feature images of the royal family.
Christmas cards with Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s signatures on have been discovered. Some of the earlier cards feature photographs of Prince William and Harry as young children
Later cards, one pictured, sent after Diana’s death in 1997 show Charles with his teenage sons. The cards are expected to reach £1,500-£2,000 at auction
The royals’ signatures are on the cards but Diana’s name isn’t on all of them due to her untimely death in a car crash at the age of 36 in 1997.
Due to the scarcity of signatures by Diana, the six cards will go into Hansons’ July 31 Library Auction with a combined estimate of £1,500-£2,000.
The Burton vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: ‘We never realised the cards existed.
‘We came across them in a box which used to belong to Muriel who was a stamp collector.
‘They’d been forgotten about for decades. We weren’t sure if they were worth anything but needed to get some stamps valued so asked Hansons to take a look.
‘Muriel died around 1993 and George passed away in 2002. We believe the cards had remained undisturbed since 1993 – 26 years ago.’
All together there are six Christmas cards going up for auction and the images show the royal family throughout the years, before and after Diana’s death
The vendor said: ‘Mr and Mrs Constable were the parents of my brother’s late wife.
‘They used to run the post office in Newton Saint Loe, near Bath, in Somerset, a village which is part of the Duchy of Cornwall. I suppose that’s why they received the royal Christmas cards.’
The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate, established in 1337 by Edward III, which funds the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales and his family.
The vendor added: ‘After Mr and Mrs Constable died, the cards were passed to another stamp collector in our family who has recently gone into a care home.
‘We discovered them in 2017 but, due to illness, they were put to one side. It’s a nice surprise to learn they’re rather special.’
Charles Hanson, pictured with one of the early cards, said that ‘any royal signature is highly valued but, due to her premature death, Diana’s increases the value of an object even more’
In Hansons’ May 10 Harold and Mary Wilson Collection Auction, two Christmas cards bearing Charles and Diana’s signature, Lot 115, sold for £1,500.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, was touched by the poignancy of the cards.
He said: ‘They create a pictorial timeline showing the royal princes growing up. It’s a celebration of royal family life.
‘The princes were aged around one and three on the earliest Christmas card posted in 1985. By the time the last card was dispatched in 1999 they were teenagers, almost grown men, aged 15 and 17.
The Prince and Princess of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry are pictured on the Royal Yacht Britannia on May 6, 1985 in Venice, Italy
‘Diana appears on the cards when they were small then, sadly, disappears. Prince William was 15, and Prince Harry only 12 when they lost their mother.
‘Harry, who’s just discovering the enormous feeling of love that comes with being a parent, is now 34 and William, a father-of-three, is 36 – the same age as his mother when she died.
‘Diana adored her sons and it’s incredible to think we lost her more than 20 years ago. Any royal signature is highly valued but, due to her premature death, her name increases the value of an object even more.’
The royal Christmas cards will be sold in Hansons Auctioneers’ July 31 Library Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire.
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